Toulouse Lautrec cocktail party I've just thought it would be nice if I start writing about wine and drinks topics related to arts. The first one who came to my mind was Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Alcoholism killed him but Henri is responsible not only for his own suicide but for inventing lots of famous dishes and cocktails in France... By the way, he was a very inventive cook and neglecting his noble origins he spent lots of time in the kitchen adding apricots to the omelets and plums to meat dishes. This is what I remember - at least from reading a book about him more than 20 years ago.... So here we go...
A provocative painter and printmaker for his time, Toulouse-Lautrec was known to carry a hollow cane (translated to French as "cannes creuse") with a bottle of absinthe inside. Now that is an absinthe enthusiast - or is it simply the definition of someone with a serious drinking problem? From what I remember from the book he also took his baklan on the rope everywhere with him. He trained him to fish and both of them went fishing together to the local rivers. The picture was tragic-comical seeing a midget with his bird-pet.
A short biography note: French painter and graphic artist. Born to an old aristocratic family, he developed his interest in art during lengthy convalescence after both his legs were fractured in separate accidents (1878, 1879) that left them permanently stunted and made walking difficult. In 1881 he resolved to become an artist; after taking instruction, he established a studio in the Montmartre district of Paris in 1884 and began his lifelong association with the area's cafés, cabarets, entertainers, and artists. He captured the effect of the movement of dancers, circus performers, and other entertainers by simplifying outlines and juxtaposing intense colours; the result was an art throbbing with life and energy. His lithographs were among his most powerful works, and his memorable posters helped define the possibilities of the genre. His pieces are often sharply satirical, but he was also capable of great sympathy, seen most poignantly in his studies of prostitutes (e.g., At the Salon, 1896). His extraordinary style helped set the course of avant-garde art for decades to come. A heavy drinker, he died at 36.
“He sat there, like a Buddha among his guests, themselves lolling on either side of the divan in silent adoration, solemnly digesting their dinners, eyes fixed on their pipes or gazing at the cigarette smoke rising to the ceiling…Pay no attention to these ladies and gentlemen. They are dead. I gave them too much to eat this evening.” (qtd. Frey, 389)
This is a description, written by a friend of Toulouse-Lautrec’s, of a scene that casts Toulouse-Lautrec as Buddha and the many party-goers of Montmartre as his adoring fans. Although there may have never been a situation exactly like this, the excerpt shows the sort of mysticism that surrounded the life of Toulouse-Lautrec. He often did have parties where he wined and dined many of his friends. He was obsessed with creating new alcoholic drink mixes and used his friends to test out the new concoctions.
So now... The Tremblement de Terre (or "Earthquake") Cocktail by Henri. In a wine goblet mix (for Cognac don't use the Louis XIII - in fact a rustic Armagnac can be a better choice):